SOCIO-ECONOMIC EFFECTS OF INDUSTRIAL CRISIS AND FAILED PROJECTS IN NIGERIA: EMPIRICAL EVIDENCE FROM AJAOKUTA STEEL MILL
Keywords:Ajaokuta Steel Mill, Economic development, Foreign interests, Industrial crisis, Unemployment
The Ajaokuta Steel Mill has remained comatose for decades with attendant consequences on the country’s industrial sector. The wisdom behind the establishment of the Steel Mill was to bring about viable economic development and drastically reduce unemployment in the country. Unfortunately, forty years after the Ajaokuta steel mill came into being, the company is yet to commence operation while physical infrastructure there have become dilapidated with no concerted efforts made so far by the government to revamp the steel company. It is against the backdrop of the foregoing that this paper investigated the socio-economic effects of industrial crisis and failed projects in Nigeria with particular focus on the Ajaokuta Steel Mill. The paper which utilized key informant interview and secondary sources of data, applied the elite theory of public policy as a basis to understand the influence of governance on the state of the company. The study reveals that while the Ajaokuta Steel Company is seemingly beset with internal problems it can nonetheless, be revived. One of the greatest problems is that those Nigerians who have benefitted from the corruption in Ajaokuta would not allow it to function. This position is essential and primary to the international economic political angle associated with the reviving of the Steel Mill. In other words, the interest of those members of the governing elites who are currently benefiting from the comatose company is primary to the will to revive the Steel Mill. The annual budgetary allocation to the company as stated in this study informs this assertion. Thus, this position is different from the views of studies such as Oluwole, (2018), Al-Amin, (2013), Ohuoma, (2019) and Eromo, (2019). The paper recommends that governments at all levels in Nigeria should ensure continuity in policy implementation to curtail wastages, especially in the country’s public sector. It further recommends that over dependence on foreign interests and investors to turn around the fortunes of the Ajaokuta Steel Mill should be minimized.
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